Great Grandmother

Phebe (Henderson) Bowler

This Grandma was born on the Licking River in Kentucky June 19, 1797. Her parents James Henderson and Rebecca (Wilson) Henderson moved to Ohio when she was small and settled in Brown Co Ohio. They too lost their claim because of poor titles. Brown Co was then part of N.W. Ter. Fort Vincennes was its capital.

Many Indians were in the country but serious Indian troubles had ceased since General Wayne defeated them in 1794.

Her mother died when she was quite young but she kept house for her father and 2 brothers until Great Grandfather James Harvey found her and carried her off to a new home. When he came home from the War in 1816 he met her. As a young woman she was much admired. According to a family tradition when he first saw her he said:- "She is the one for me if I can get her" and he took his chair and sat down beside her right then. He got her and they were married Feb. 20, 1816 when she was 19 years old.

They made their first home in Mechanicsburg a little village on the Ohio River. (When she wanted fresh water she would take a jug and row out into the river in a skiff and get it.) Great Grandfather set up a hatter’s shop.

We have a reminder of this period of their lives in a little dogerel which his father (William Omskirk) composed describing his trials in finding this town of Mechanicsburg.

He met a dutchman of whom he enquired the way. The dutchman scratched his head and said:-

" There is a slough where I hunts my brindle cow,
A blacksmith’s shop without a floor,
A hatter’s shop without a door,
Mabbe eet’s Mechanicsburg."

This, said to James Harvey, would make him angry.

This slough was their undoing. They had the chills so bad they gave up their home and business and moved to a higher locality where for a time they kept the "poor farm". Their move to Ind. is already recorded.

She gave birth to six girls and one boy.

  1. Jane- m. Thomas Anderson – chil. Joe Harvey, William, George, John, Phebe Ellen.
  2. Martha m. Jeremiah Billings (our ancestors)
  3. Elizabeth d. unm. Was engaged to a brother of Jeremiah Billings.
  4. Amanda m. Simon Billings a brother of Jeremiah Billings one dau. Ella.
  5. Phebe Ann (Sis) m. Thomas Shinn, chil. Albert, Ollive
  6. William W. m. Theresa Dye chil. Harvey, Robert, Charles. m. Alice Downing chil. Paul, Mary, Bessie, Millie, Ernest, Gardner.
  7. One other girl died in infancy.

The move to Ind. after birth of first 4 girls is already recorded then finally to Illinois. On the Bowler farm south of Flora she outlived her husband nine years giving a home to her widowed daughters and their children – Amanda and Phebe Ann until Willie married. They then moved to homes of their own and he took over the farm.

Her grandchildren Jimmie, Janey, Ella, Albert, Mela and Ollie loved to play together at her home.

She always wore white lace caps the ruffles of which she pleated herself and always wore pretty night caps. She was buried in a white cap. She made and gave her children many handsome quilts. She showed her Presbyterian raising in always saying "Go out and break up a little wood for Sunday." She united with the Christian Church sometime in early life. In Indiana, Decatur Co., on a road a mile west of her home was the Christian Ch. Of which she was a member. She always attended when she was able and the weather permitted. Sometimes she took one child then another behind her.

She died Sept. 18, 1866 and was buried beside her husband in the Flora Cemetery.

Her parents